I'm sitting at the airport in NYC now, waiting to see if my flight to Atlanta is delayed, and paging through my itinerary for the next few weeks, and I figured I should share the first bit. If there are any "must-sees" or "gotchas" at any of the places I'm going, let me know (especially if there are cheesy photo ops that you want me to embarass myself with - I'll find a cousin who is willing to do it).
July 31st - Delta 1793 to Atlanta, visit Danielle.
August 1st/2nd - Delta 18 (16 hours in a tin can) from ATL to PVG (Shanghai), 3 hours at Pu Dong, China Airways 983 to Beijing (2 more hours in an even less safe tin can), sit in traffic and end up at The Peninsula, Bejing.
August 3 - visit the Temple of Heaven, do some Tai Chi, stroll through the Hongqiao Market, visit Factory 798 (apparently an artsy-fartsy kind of place), lunch at Chef Dong's Roast Duck Restaurant. After lunch, hit up the Forbidden City and Tianenmen Square, and watch the Shaolin Gongfu Monks in the evening.
August 4 - drive by the Bird's Nest and Water Cube stadia, then out to the Summer Palace and a boat ride on Lake Kunming. Lunch at Bai Jia Da Yuan Restaurant. After lunch, walk through a historic hutong style neighborhood, then take a pedicab tour of a "traditional" Beijing neighboorhood (what's the difference?). After that, we have a relaxing rest of the day, with only a calligraphy lesson, visit to a kite factory, and a evening shadow play show. I'm getting tired just writing about this!
August 5 - this is the biggie, time to hit up the Great Wall of China. Last time, this was a heart attack waiting to happen, but apparently now they have added a cable car and toboggan sled, so I'm thinking this will be a bit less work (after I spent all that time during the family reunion getting trained up!). Lunch at Xiao Long Pu Restaurant, then over to the Ming Tombs and the Spirit Way. After that, just a short 50 km drive back to Beijing and a night at the Peking Opera.
August 6 - Bye Bye Beijing, flying to Xi'an on China Eastern Airlines flight MU2124.
Well, it's just about time to get on my plane, so I'm going to sign off for now. Assuming I survive the first few days, I'll be posting on individual days and activities, and positing more itnerary detail as I go.